Last month marked the end of the 2012 Action Corps season. The overwhelming success of last year means there's a lot to live up to, though I'm confident there are good things in store for 2013. Before we move on, I want to take a moment to recognize all we've accomplished this past year.
Nationwide, Oxfam Action Corps gathered over 10,000 petition signatures, did 105 lobby visits, organized 503 events, and performed outreach at 142 concerts, farmers markets, and campus events. 2012 ushered in the second year of the global GROW movement and the unveiling of the Behind the Brands campaign.
The momentum behind the Behind the Brands campaign is especially significant. Nestle, Mars, and Mondelez agreed to major policy changes less than two months after OAC volunteers took to the streets to demand fair treatment for women. Considering there are 40 million farmers whose livelihoods depend on cocoa, and these companies control 30 percent of the market, these are some big changes.
Here in Albuquerque we were proud to participate in the Behind the Brands unveiling and year-long promotion of the GROW Method. World Food Day events in October were a highlight, with outreach to restaurants serving local food and our first big community dinner made from Growers Market leftovers.
Coordinating the 100 person Hunger Banquet and presenting at the IMPACT Conference was equally rewarding. We've also made some great partners with Bread, Nourish, Community Bricolage, Interfaith Power and Light, Food Corps, and more. Finally, I'm excited for more volunteer fun with picnics, Explora Science of Food nights, and movie screenings such as Half the Sky. We couldn't have pulled off any of our events without support from headquarters and our wonderful team of committed volunteers, so to them I owe a big thank you.
Whew--what a stellar year! Here's a look at what's in store and more about our incoming organizers:
Katherine Chavez was born and raised in New Mexico. She joined the US Navy at age 19 and served four years before moving to Hanford, California where she worked as a bartender at a Mexican restaurant. Kathy currently works as a pediatric nurse at the University of New Mexico Hospital. She became involved with Oxfam at Albuquerque’s downtown growers’ market and later found herself volunteering in a kitchen full of great fresh food and wonderful, fun people. Kathy is excited to join the New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps as a new co-organizer and can't wait to do outreach at concerts and the Growers Market.
Jasmine McBeath is from Arizona, but moved to Albuquerque a year ago. She works at Big Brothers Big Sisters, offering support to volunteers, families, and children. She finds the work extremely rewarding (with the added benefit that it helps her practice her Spanish). When she returned from her year in Brazil, she wanted to continue learning about development work and low-and-behold she found Oxfam. She has been a leader for the New Mexico Action Corps this past year and is thrilled to be back on board. Jasmine is looking forward to training new volunteers and organizing a big community dinner on World Food Day in October.
Kalen Olson was a peer facilitator for the spring Oxfam Action Corps training in DC. This past year, she organized with Jasmine for the New Mexico chapter and worked as Alumni Relations Coordinator at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy. She loves food and teaching hip-hop. Here she is pictured with her brother Ryan, back home in Washington at the Fort, celebrating the 4th of July at the biggest fireworks display west of the Mississippi. Kalen is excited to be back a second year, spreading the word about Oxfam's work through restaurant outreach and tabling around town.